food amongst family and friends

Summer Cobbler September 22, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — blisteringlydrunk @ 8:21 pm
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20150922_200048This recipe has been a favourite for a few years now. It’s a gem – the ingredients are simple enough to memorize, it takes 5 minutes to throw together and the results are amazing. You can use any kind of fruit you like (ie. use up all the scraps that are about to turn ) and it’s a great, low-stress dessert for company. Hope you love it.


Borrowed from Fine Cooking, serves 6

4 T butter

1 C each flour, sugar, milk

1 1/2 t baking powder

Pinch salt

3 cups mixed seasonal fruit (I used figs and plums here, but stone fruits, mixed berries and rhubarb are all favourites)

Heat oven to 375F. Put butter in a small baking dish (roughly 8×8 or a 10″ skillet) and put the dish into the oven as it heats. The butter will melt and brown slightly. Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt; then stir in the milk. Stir to combine, some lumps are okay.

When oven is hot, remove baking dish and pour the batter into the dish on top of the butter. Don’t stir. It will look messy and not uniform; it’s okay. Dump fruit on top of batter, concentrating in the middle. Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden brown all over and solid in the middle.

Serve warm with cream poured over top.


Breakfast at my house, every Saturday February 26, 2013

ImageI thought for years that I had scones all wrapped up. I kept reading about cream scones and I thought they were crazy, that clearly you would need an egg in there to get that lightness that you want in a good scone (who knew whipping cream would be the solution to that?). But finally, I caved, and tried this recipe, and our Saturday mornings haven’t been the same since. These are perfect; light, soft, and delicate, creamy with a hint of sweetness, just what I want with my lazy weekend coffees. This picture is of my family’s favourite flavour, raspberry, but I have also tried lemon ginger (zest of one lemon, a third of a cup chopped candied ginger, lemon egg wash and crystallized sugar at the end), cherry orange (orange zest instead of the lemon and frozen cherries) and roasted pear and dark chocolate (just like it sounds). All flavours have been well received. The best part of these scones (besides eating them): they freeze beautifully. Once they are mixed and shaped, just pop them on a cookie sheet and freeze them solid, then transfer to an airtight container and: TA DA! you have the ability to put freshly baked scones on your table in about 20 minutes, including the time it takes your oven to preheat. Add about three minutes to your regular baking time and nothing else. I hope you enjoy this as much as my family does!


1 cup unbleached flour

1 cup spelt flour

1 Tbsp Baking powder

3 Tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

5 Tbsp cold, unsalted butter, cubed

a few big handfuls of frozen raspberries

1 cup heavy cream

1. Preheat oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with parchment or silicone (unless you are going to freeze all of them, in which case you can skip the preheat)

2. Combine flour thru salt in a large mixing bowl (or in a food processor, I just find this so simple it’s not worth having to wash my food processor).

3. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or by pulsing in the food processor, until mixture resembles oatmeal. Stir in raspberries and cream until it all starts to come together. Turn out onto counter and knead a couple of times, just to get everything to stay together. Pat into a 6-8″ disc, then cut into 8 wedges.

4. Transfer to baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes. I always check by pressing the tops; the scones shouldn’t feel liquidy inside, they should be firm all the way through.

5. Let cool a little on a rack, then eat ’em up! Scones are best fresh baked and are great for a few hours, just don’t seal then inside anything; they will lose there crispness.






Austrian Shortbread December 30, 2012

Filed under: Bars,Make Ahead — blisteringlydrunk @ 11:53 am
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ShortbreadThis was my breakfast this morning: coffee with homemade eggnog and a slice of Austrian shortbread. Christmas leftovers make me happy.

I have to start this post by confessing that every single square, cookie and appetizer I made for Christmas this year came from Smitten Kitchen. I ordered her new cookbook in the Fall, it arrived in late October, and I’ve been staring at it every day since it arrived. I’ve already made the squash and caramelized onion galette 4 times. Heaven!

This shortbread comes from Epicurious via the Smitten Kitchen blog. What sets this recipe apart from other shortbreads is not the ingredients, but an interesting tweak to the process. Once the dough has come together, you freeze it, then grate half of it into the bottom of the pan, add a layer of raspberry jam, then grate the remaining dough on top. The result is a lighter, airier shortbread. I took Deb’s advice and added a good dose of lemon zest – I wouldn’t make it any other way.

Aside from being super tasty, this is a convenient recipe to make when you have lots on the go. You can make the dough well in advance, freeze it, then grate and bake it the day that you need it. Once baked, it will stay moist and soft and delicious for at least a week if you keep it at room temperature in an airtight container.

Note – the Epicurious recipe says that you can substitute 1 cup of flour for 1 cup of cocoa, producing a chocolate raspberry shortbread. If you go that route, leave out the lemon zest.

yields a 9×13 pan of deep squares

1 pound unsalted butter, slightly softened
4 egg yolks
2 C sugar
4 C flour
2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1-2 t lemon zest
1 C raspberry jam, at room temperature
1/4 C powdered sugar

Cream the butter until soft and fluffy. Add the yolks and mix well.

Whisk together the sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt, then add to the butter and egg yolk mixture. Mix just until the dough starts to come together, then turn out onto a floured surface and form into two balls. Wrap each ball in plastic and freeze at least 2 hours. You can make this ahead and freeze it for up to a month.

When you’re ready to bake, get the oven heating to 350 F.

Take one ball of dough from the freezer and coarsely grate it – you can do this by hand on a box grater, but a food processor is much easier if you have one. Shake the shortbread flakes into the bottom of a 9×13 baking pan, making sure to evenly distribute the flakes.

Spoon the jam into a piping bag with a wide tip or a zip-lock bag with a corner cut off. Squeeze the jam over the surface as evenly as possible, leaving a 1/2 inch border. I squeezed out the jam in a tight zigzag pattern, then used a butter knife to lightly spread it and fill in the gaps. Remove the remaining dough from the freezer, coarsely grate it and shake evenly over the entire surface.

Bake until lightly golden and the center no longer wiggles. This took just shy of 50 minutes for me, though the original recipe said it could take up to 60 minutes. I suggest checking it at 45 minutes, check the edges for browning and decide how close you are. As soon as you take it out of the oven, dust with the powdered sugar and let cool.

Note – leave this whole until you’re ready to serve. The shortbread will last longer as one solid piece than it will cut into little squares.



Best Cake Ever – Browned Butter Pumpkin Layer Cake October 12, 2012

Filed under: Baking,Cakes,Desserts,Make Ahead,Uncategorized,Vegetarian — blisteringlydrunk @ 2:08 pm
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I have a whole list of healthy, easy weeknight dinners to post, but I can’t bring myself to do it. Some of them are from the Fine Cooking Cooking Fresh magazine I bought, where they snuck this cake in along with all of the other healthy ways to eat your vegetables. I’ve made this twice now (in the last 2 weeks; I think I might have a problem) and every adult who has tasted it, has taken one bite, stopped, looked at me and said “What is this!?!” around a mouthful of deliciousness (the kids have approached it with their usual “Sugar? White flour? I’m in!” attitude. I think the subtleties may be wasted on them). It’s stop you in your tracks good. Browned butter takes a classic pumpkin/spice/cream cheese combo and makes it something extraordinary. It’s Friday, make a cake, you won’t regret it.

P.S. Don’t skip the topping; it’s amazing. In fact, be like me and make extra so you can keep a little bag of it in the car for grown up snacking emergencies!

Pumpkin Puree

2 tsp canola oil

1 medium-large Sugar Pie pumpkin, cut in half and seeded

Preheat oven to 350, brush a 9×13 glass dish with oil and place pumpkin in cut side down. Roast about 45 minutes or until tender. Let cool, then peel the pumpkin and puree the flesh in a food processor.

Alternatively, go to the store and buy a can of pumpkin puree. Open with a can opener. Proceed. Seriously though, I made the puree, it was easy and it made a difference in the cake, but I wouldn’t say it’s a make or break thing. Do what you will.

The Cake

3/4 cup unsalted butter

2 cups/9 oz unbleached flour

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

3/4 tsp table salt

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1 1/2 cups sugar

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

2 large eggs

1/3 cup buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter 2 9 inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment, butter the parchment and flour the pans. (I skipped the parchment the first time and regretted it. This is a VERY moist cake)

2. Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat. Cook until the foaming and sizzling stop and butter turns a deep brown, but not until the bits on the bottom are black. Once the sizzling stops, watch it closely as it goes from perfect to burnt pretty quickly. Pour butter into a small bowl and let stand until cool, but not set.

3.  In a medium bowl mix together flour thru cloves. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar thru buttermilk plus 1 1/2 cups of your pumpkin puree (leftover puree can be portioned and frozen) until well blended. Fold in dry ingredients with a rubber spatula until just combined, then gently whisk in the browned butter until completely incorporated.

4. Divide the batter evenly between pans (a kitchen scale helps with this). Bake the cakes until set in the middle and a toothpick comes out clean, about 28 minutes (the temperature outside dropped drastically the day before I made this the second time and I had to cook a few minutes longer, so use your discretion).

5.  Let cakes cool in pans on a rack for 10 minutes before turning out and removing the parchment. Let cool completely before assembling the cake.

The Topping

1 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter

2/3 cup pecans, roughly chopped

1/2 cup raw, unsalted pepitas

2 Tbsp firmly packed brown sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 Tbsp finely chopped candied ginger

Melt the butter over medium heat in a heavy bottomed skillet. Add the pecans and pepitas and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pepitas start to pop. Sprinkle in the brown sugar and salt and stir until the sugar dissolves completely and a glaze is formed. Stir in the ginger and remove from the heat. Let cool in the skillet.

The Icing

1/2 cup unsalted butter

8 oz cream cheese at room temp

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 1/4 cups icing sugar

1. Brown the butter as you did for the cake. Pour into a small bowl and let stand until settled, 3-4 minutes, then place in the freezer until set, about 20 minutes (it may take a little more or a little less depending on your freezer, but make sure you don’t let it get too hard)

2. Using a spoon, carefully scrape the butter out of the bowl, leaving behind the browned solids on the bottom. In a large bowl and using a hand mixer (the stand mixer didn’t work as well, I ended up with chunks of browned butter that wouldn’t incorporate into the icing) beat the butter until smooth, then add in the cream cheese and brown sugar. Beat until fluffy.

3. Gradually beat in the icing sugar until fluffy.
Assembling Your Cake

Place one cake on a platter (this is what you are serving it on). Spread about 1/2 cup of icing evenly on top, then sprinkle with 1/2 of the topping. Place the second cake on top and ice the top and sides with remaining icing. Decorate with remaining topping. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days – this stayed beautifully in the fridge.





A Little Piece of Pie Heaven – Roasted Plum Mascarpone and Saskatoon Pie September 17, 2012

Filed under: Baking,Desserts,Make Ahead,pastry — blisteringlydrunk @ 8:56 pm
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It’s been so long since I have managed to post that I now have two pie recipes that desperately need to be shared. These are two very different pies, but both are in my top three pies ever tasted (the third is peach pie). About the Plum Mascarpone pie, let me first say, this picture is terrible and does not do justice to this pie, but it was late and dark and I just wanted to eat it. Secondly, if you have never tasted a plum post-roasting, you are missing out on something truly amazing. Seriously, go roast a plum, right now, then thank me for elevating your taste buds to a new level. Add to that plum a vanilla bean and whipped mascarpone and creme fraiche and you might tear up a little. This, my friends, is pie taken to new heights.

And about the saskatoon pie, it’s nothing special, plain old ordinary pie as it should be; a showcase for the fruit at the peak of the season, with a berry that actually holds up to an hour of baking. In other words, nothing short of fantastic. But do yourself a favour and have it with some sort of cream; heavy clotted cream poured over, ice cream, whipped cream, or this Vanilla Mascarpone cream. The point is, cream will always take a berry pie to the next level.

Saskatoon Pie – recipe from my Mom’s best friend Janice, the best cook I know

On batch of Sour Cream Pastry, or pastry for a double crust pie of your choice

5 cups Saskatoons, fresh or frozen

1/2 cup water

2 1/2 Tbsp corn starch

1 Tbsp lemon juice

dash of nutmeg

1. Mix together water through nutmeg in a medium saucepan over medium low heat, cooking and stirring regularly until clear and thick. Add saskatoons and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool while you prepare the pastry.

2. Preheat oven to 450. Roll out half the pastry to fit your 9″ deep dish pie plate. Place in bottom. Fill with berries, then cover with second half of pastry. Trim and tuck in the edges, then pinch to seal. Cut 3 or 4 vents into the top crust. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and cook for another 40 – 45 minutes, covering the edges with tinfoil or an edge protector if they start to get overly brown.

3. Remove from oven and let cool completely before serving.

Plum Mascarpone pie – barely adapted from Bon Apetit

1/2 batch Sour cream Pastry or single pie crust of your choice, fully cooked and cooled (I cooked the sour cream crust, liberally fork holed, for 10-13 minutes, or until golden brown all over)

4 – 5 lbs plums, pitted and halved, skins on (I used a combination of Italian prune plums and red plums)

1 1/2 cups plus 2 Tbsp sugar

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste, divided (or a whole vanilla bean, divided)

8 oz mascarpone

1/3 cup creme fraiche (sour cream works if you can’t find it)

2 Tbsp honey

whipped cream for serving

1. Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, stir together plums, 1 1/2 cups sugar, lemon juice and half the vanilla bean paste (or scrape in half the bean). Toss to coat, then divide the plums between two 9×13 glass baking dishes, cut side down. Suggested roasting time was 40-60 minutes, I roasted mine for 40 minutes, and thought it was a little too long, so I would recommend checking in a few times during the roasting. You want the juices bubbling and the plums soft but not yet falling apart.

2. Let plums cool slightly, then remove to a cookie sheet with a slotted spoon, reserving juices. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (I did mine the day before. In fact, I did everything the day before and then just assembled the pie a few hours before serving).

3. Pour juices into a small saucepan and simmer until reduced to an approx half cup. Set aside (or refrigerate until assembly, microwaving slightly with a Tbsp of water to loosen back up before use)

4. Combine remaining 2 Tbsp sugar, remaining 1/2 Tbsp vanilla bean paste, mascarpone, creme fraiche, and honey in a large bowl or stand mixer. Beat until stiff peaks form, being careful not to over beat as mascarpone can curdle.

5. Assemble your pie: take your crust, spread mascarpone mixture on bottom, then add plums in spiraling layers so it peaks in the middle, then liberally brush the whole thing with the glaze, reserving some to put on top of the whipped cream for serving. Hello Masterpiece!



PS Shout out to Katie for having a pie, cheese and sangria party for her 30th birthday party; it was foodie heaven! Plus she’s the one who introduced the plum pie to my life.




Cocoa(nut) banana bread June 7, 2012

Filed under: Baking,Loaves — blisteringlydrunk @ 3:12 pm
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I’ve been making this banana bread like a fiend for a couple of months now; it’s my go to recipe for when I open the freezer and brown bananas start falling out (seriously, I keep them on the door and when it gets over loaded its like an avalanche whenever I open the freezer). And every time I share it with someone, they ask for the recipe, which I have been slacking on . . . until now. So here it is, the chocolatiest, coconutiest banana bread around.

3/4 cup sugar (you could probably get a way with 1/2 cup, especially if using flavoured yogurt)

1/2 cup coconut oil (which is solid, like butter, which by the way works perfectly here if you don’t have coconut oil; I’ve used both. But try the coconut oil; it’s better for you and gives it a nice crisp crust)

3 ripe (or overripe) bananas, mashed

1 Tbsp coconut rum (or regular rum or vanilla, depending on what you’ve got)

1 3/4 cup spelt flour (you could also do half and half whole wheat and all purpose)

1/4 cup cocoa

1/2 tsp each, salt and baking soda

1/3 cup yogurt (coconut flavoured if you have it, plain if you don’t)

1/2 cup each, chocolate chips (or chunks) and shredded unsweetened coconut

1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease and flour your loaf pan. I often double the recipe and use 2 loaf pans and one mini loaf pan, so keep in mind this is a big loaf.

2. Using a stand or electric mixer cream together sugar and coconut oil. Add in bananas and blend well.

3. In a separate bowl, combine flour through baking soda, giving it a good whisk to blend. Add half the flour mixture to the banana mixture, then the yogurt, then the remaining flour mixture, stirring just to combine each time. Fold in chocolate chips and coconut.

4. Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for 55 – 65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan on rack for 5 minutes, then flip out onto rack and cool completely.






Cream cheese stuffed pumpkin and zucchini muffins May 5, 2012

Filed under: Baking,Make Ahead,Muffins,Uncategorized,Vegetarian — blisteringlydrunk @ 12:11 pm
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I had the extreme pleasure of enjoying one of these muffins at Vanessa’s (who’s cookbook I love and is hopefully soon to be a guest poster here) place in the fall. Soooooooo good. And as I was in need of some new school snack ideas (my daughter has quit eating all of our old standbys) I thought I would see if I could health this up a bit with some whole grains and way less sugar and oil. Overall, it turned out really well; easily my new go to pumpkin muffin. Plus, I had some grated zucchini sitting in my fridge, and some leftover cream cheese filling, so I tried these zucchini spice muffins and added the cream cheese filling. Great success! I think cream cheese filling could get my girls to eat anything actually. Anyway, these are a bit more work than your average muffin, though not a lot more, and they are totally worth 3 times the effort. I dare you to make them and not eat them all yourself!

Cream Cheese Filling (This should be enough to make both recipes, but if you like a lot of filling, you may want to make 1 1/2 batches):

8 0z (1 brick) light cream cheese

1/2 cup icing sugar (I might even go for 1/3 cup next time)

1/2 tsp vanilla

Using an electric mixer, beat everything together until thoroughly combined. Dump onto a large piece of plastic wrap and roll into a log inside the wrap. Place in freezer for at least 30 minutes (I did it in the morning and then made the muffins once I was home, so mine was frozen solid, but it worked just fine).

Pumpkin muffins (makes 2 dozen BIG muffins or 30 more normal sized ones):

3 cups spelt flour (or half and half whole wheat and all purpose)

1 tsp each, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground cloves, salt and baking soda

1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

4 eggs

1 1/4 cups sugar (you may be able to reduce this a bit further, but much more and I think the spices will become overwhelming)

2 1/2 cups pumpkin puree

2/3 cup canola oil

1. Preheat oven to 350 and line your muffin tins with papers (I think these might stick without them, but try it if you have a really good non stick tin). In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour through pumpkin pie spice.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together eggs, sugar, pumpkin and oil until well blended. Add the dry ingredients on low speed, mixing until just combined.

3. Slice up your log of cream cheese into as many muffins as you intend to make. Place just enough muffin batter into each liner to cover the bottom ( 1-2 Tbsp). Add a slice of cream cheese filling and then fill with remaining batter.

4. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until the top springs back to a light touch (being mindful of the filling). Cool on rack and enjoy!

Zucchini Spice Muffins (this one made about 18 medium sized muffins):

3 cups spelt flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/4 cup canola oil

3/4 cup buttermilk

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups zucchini

1. Preheat oven to 350 and line or spray your muffin tins. In a large bowl, stir together flour through pumpkin pie spice.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, oil, buttermilk, vanilla and zucchini. Add to dry ingredients and stir together until just combined (this makes a fairly heavy dough, don’t worry, as the zucchini cooks it adds a lot of moisture; at this point I thought these would be the worst muffins ever, just based on the thickens of the batter).

3. Assemble the muffins as you did for the pumpkin ones; batter, filling, more batter. Bake for 18-20 minutes, then cool on rack.



PS Both recipes froze beautifully, so don’t be afraid of making the large quantities.